Jump to content
News Ticker
  • NPAs under PM Modi's Mudra scheme jumped 126% in FY19
  • shows RTI
  • RTI query reveals banking frauds of ₹ 2.05 Trillion reported in the last 11 years
  • 509 per cent rise in cases under child labour law: Study
  • The Central Information Commission has allowed disclosure of file notings on the mercy petition of a rape and murder convict, rejecting the government's contention that the records cannot be disclosed as these are privileged documents under Article 74(2) of the Constitution.
  • Electoral bonds worth over ₹5,800 crore were bought by donors to fund political parties between March 1, 2018 and May 10, 2019, a Right to Information reply has said.
  • Don't pay 500/- for answer sheet now- Supreme Court says if Answer sheet is asked under RTI, RTI Fees will be governed
Sajib Nandi

17 times the SC made liberal judgements that made us proud In 2017

Recommended Posts

Sajib Nandi

Reported by Youthkiawaaz.com on December 27, 2017

17 Times The SC Made Liberal Judgements That Made Us Proud In 2017

 

Media is not merely the 4th pillar of democracy, but also a watchdog towards the working of the State. However, the politicization of the media, sensationalization of news due to the TRP race, numerous elections leading to the media becoming involved continuously in elections mode lead to the neglect of some core issues which are important for public purposes, information dissemination, discussion and debate.

 

The article covers some important decisions made by the Supreme Court of India in 2017 that were not given the coverage they deserved.

 

1. The Supreme Court Declared Religion Was Not Important In Politics

In the first week of January, a seven-judge Supreme Court bench ruled that “religion, race, caste, community or language would not be allowed to play any role in the electoral process”. This order was violated on very next day when Former UP Chief Minister Mayawati declared contestants on basis of caste. Also, since Supreme Court has called Hinduism “a way of life” in 1995 judgement, the order was debatable.

 

2. Rolling Back The Ordinance Raj

Then, in January a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in Krishna Kumar Singh vs. the State of Bihar, has held that the failure to place an ordinance before the legislature constitutes an abuse of power and a fraud on the Constitution. This was because Bihar government had re-promulgated a 1989 ordinance, for seven successive times, without even once tabling it in the State Assembly. The judgement should have been widely hailed to ensure democratic institutions function desirably.

 

3. Cash Donations To A Political Party

Thereafter, in February, the Budget presented several political reforms like the maximum amount of cash donation that a political party can receive, was reduced from ₹20,000 to ₹2,000 from one person. Further, an amendment was proposed to the Reserve Bank of India Act to enable the issuance of electoral bonds which could be purchased only by digital modes of payment. The final details of this bond are still awaited. Moreover, every political party was mandated to file its return within the time prescribed in accordance with the provision of the Income-tax Act to ensure tax-free status.

 

4. Naga Women Stand Up For Women Empowerment

Additionally, protests occurred in Nagaland where women were demanding 33% constitutional reservation for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Nagaland, as available in rest of the nation &abd mandated to be implemented by Gauhati High Court. The debate was centred around traditional rights of Nagas against women empowerment

 

Furthermore, a CBI report submitted to the Supreme Court said that there are more than 31 lakh NGOs existing in India, but only 8% – 10% of those file annual financial statement. Hence, the Supreme Court demanded a clear data bank about existing NGOs from the Centre. It is hard to debate that, amidst growing foreign links in NGOs, there is a need to provide an institutional and legal framework to NGOs.

 

5. CCTV’s To Be Installed In Courtrooms And Its Premises

Then, the Supreme Court ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in courtrooms and its premises, without audio recording, in at least in two districts of all states and union territories within three months. This is a major step considering the large-scale opacity in functions of Judiciary.

 

6. Ban On Publishing Predictions By Astrologers, Tarot Reads, etc.

Thereafter, the Election Commission (EC) said that predictions by astrologers, Tarot readers and Political analysts on election results cannot be published or broadcast by the media. This is a necessary reform to ensure free & fair elections in India.

 

7. New OBC Commission To Get Constitutional Status

Further, the Lok Sabha passed a constitutional amendment which renames NCBC as “National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes” in the Constitution. An accompanying bill, “The National Commission for Backward Classes Bill 2017”, was also passed to repeal the 1993 law. This is a major reform for the upliftment of OBCs, as NCeBC was granted Constitutional status (Article 338B).

 

Also, the law stipulates only one central list for OBC, same as that for SC and ST. There would be no parallel existence of central and state OBC lists. This would reduce the State governments power to grant OBC inclusion as per vote bank politics and the parliament will decide on the inclusion/exclusion under Article 342A. He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state.

 

8. Money And Muscle Power In The Elections

Moreover, the election commission using Article 324 cancelled the by-election to the RK Nagar constituency in Chennai, which fell vacant after the death of CM Jayalalitha. It was cancelled as large-scale bribing of voters to the tune of ₹89 crores which made it impossible to conduct free and fair elections.

 

9. Paid News Got Caught

Likewise, the Election Commission (EC) disqualified Madhya Pradesh Minister Narottam Mishra, for three years, for filing wrong accounts of election expenditure. The membership has been revoked under section 10A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The petition seeking Mishra’s disqualification was filed in 2009, alleging that the he had not included expenses incurred by him on ‘paid news’ while filing his expenditure statement before EC after the 2008 poll.

 

10. Karnataka Assembly Resolution To Arrest Journalists

Additionally, the Karnataka assembly Speaker ordered the imprisonment of two journalists for a year based on recommendations of its privilege committees. Earlier in 2003, the Tamil Nadu assembly Speaker directed the arrest of five journalists for publishing articles that were critical of the AIADMK government. This was a debatable decision as privileges vs freedom of speech & expression were at odds with each other.

 

11. Right to Internet: Under a Fundamental Right

Furthermore, the Supreme Court, in a judgement, has said that the right to access Internet comes under fundamental right of expression and cannot be curtailed at any cost. The judgement was passed during a hearing of a PIL filed by Sabu Mathew George against search engines (Yahoo, Google and Microsoft) for strict adherence to section 22 of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act of 1994.

 

The court said that the Right of Internet Access is permissible, until and unless it doesn’t “encroaches into the boundary of illegality”. This judgement could have large-scale ramifications and would help in making the Internet as part of Fundamental Rights in future.

 

12. Digitization In judiciary

Then, ‘Integrated Case Management Information System’ (ICMIS) was introduced in the apex court for digital filing. Its functions include the option of e-filing cases, checking listing dates, case status, online service of notice/summons, office reports and overall tracking of progress of a case filed with the apex court registry and is a big shot in the arm for Digital India initiative and solving three crore cases in the judiciary.

 

13. Power Struggle In Puducherry

Moreover, the debate begun between Puducherry Lieutenant Governor and Cheif Minister overpowers designated to the two authorities, similar to Delhi power struggle. The CM has insisted that the Lt. governor should work according to the advice of the council of ministers and she should inform prior to visiting any constituency. However, the Lt. Governor said that she was the “real administrator” and all files had to be sent for her approval as she had the powers over administrative matters. The issue needed a greater debate over conflicts between Article 239, 239A, 239AA, Union Territories Act, 1963, Rules of Business of the Government of Puducherry.

 

14. Minimum Government, Maximum Governance

Thereafter, the Union Government has merged the Ministry Of Urban Development (MoUD) and the Ministry Of Housing And Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), and now it will be called as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. This move goes along with the objective of “Minimum Government, Maximum Government” but more such moves are needed in this regard.

 

15. NRIs To Vote In The Elections

Additionally, the Union cabinet has approved a proposal to change the electoral laws to allow NRIs to vote in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections through a proxy. Overseas electors will have to appoint a nominee afresh for each election — one person can act as a proxy for only one overseas voter. This is unlike the armed forces who can nominate their relatives as a permanent proxy to vote on their behalf. This is another step which would facilitate greater involvement of Indian citizens living abroad and help in getting them connected to their national identity.

 

16. Article 35A: A New Debate Opens Up After Article 370

Further, a great debate which now needs to usher is on Article 35A of Indian Constitution, after a recent petition in Apex Court against the constitutionality of the article.

 

Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by a Presidential order issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution. Article 35A of the constitution empowers the J&K legislature to define state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other States or any other right under the Constitution.

 

For example, Article 35A protects certain provisions of the J&K Constitution which denies property rights to native women who marry from outside the State. The article is now debatable as it was not added to the Constitution, through amendment under Article 368, thus bypassing the parliamentary route of lawmaking. It is contended that it is discriminatory against non-residents as far as government jobs and real estate purchases are concerned. Thus, violating fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21. The article needs greater public debate and will be examined by Apex Court in future.

 

17. Real Estate: A Real Reform

Then, a big ticket reform by Centre namely Real Estate (Development and Regulation) Act, 2016 that was passed by the parliament in March 2016, which came into effect fully from May 2017. The move is expected to regulate largely hitherto unregulated real estate sector to usher in transparency and systemization. What remains to be seen is how long it takes to ensure all states adhere to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan
      There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.
    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan
      CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION




      Appeal No.ICPB/A-1/CIC/2006


      Right to Information Act – Sections 6/18

      Name of Appellant : Satyapal
      Name of Public Authority : CPIO, TCIL

      DECISION


      Decisions appealed against :
       
       
      The CPIO, TCIL has declined to supply a copy of a document on the ground that the same forms part of “file Noting” which, according to CPIO is exempt under the RTI Act. Appellate authority also has confirmed the decision of the CPIO. The appellant contents that he has the right to seek information contained in the “File Notings”.
      Facts
      Shri Satyapal – appellant, a resident of Delhi, applied to the CPIO, TCIL seeking for copies of certain documents by a letter dated 17th October, 2005. By a letter dated 14th November, 2005, CPIO, TCIL furnished copies of certain documents, however, stating that a particular document sought for was a file noting in the Department of Telecom and as such it was exempt from disclosure. By a letter dated 17th Nov. 2005, Shri Satyapal again wrote to the CPIO, TCIL pointing out that the information sought for by him did not fall within the ambit of Section 8 of the RTI Act and as such the same should be supplied. He also brought to the notice of CPIO, TCIL that in respect of information already furnished, a copy of a bill in respect of advertisement relating to independence day 1996 had not been supplied. By a letter dated 28th Nov. 2005, the CPIO, TCIL while furnishing a copy of the bill, once again reiterated that file notings are exempt from disclosure in terms of the clarification given by the Department of Personnel in their website. Aggrieved by this decision, Shri Satyapaul preferred an appeal to the appellate authority by a letter dated 14th Dec. 2005 stating that file notings are not exempt from disclosure in terms of Section 8 of the RTI Act. He followed up the same by letters dated 14th Dec., 31st Dec. 2005 and 5th January, 2006. The appellate authority by a letter dated 5.1.2006 rejected the appeal stating “The information sought by you pertains to the file notings of the Department of Telecommunication as also that of TCIL. I am of the view that TCIL is exempted from disclosing the information sought by you under Section 8(1)(d)&(e) of the RTI Act. UO No.7-17/95-PP dated 4.10.1995 is a part of file notings. You have mentioned in your appeal that the information has been denied misconstruing it as “file notings” by CPIO, TCIL. I confirm that these are notings in the file”. Aggrieved with the decision of the appellate authority, Shri Satyapal has filed this appeal before this Commission. According to Shri Satyapal, there is no specific exemption from disclosure as far as file notings are concerned in Section 8 of RTI Act.
      Commission’s Decision :
      It is seen that while the CPIO declined to furnish the information sought for on the ground that file notings are exempt from disclosure, the appellate authority, without confirming or rejecting the stand of CPIO that file notings are exempt from disclosure, has relied on Section 8(1)(d) and (e) of the RTI Act to deny the information.
      As is evident from the Preamble to the RTI Act, the Act has been enacted to vest with the citizens, the right of access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of any public authority. Conscious of the fact that access to certain information may not be in the public interest, the Act also provides certain exemptions from disclosure. Whether file notings fall within the exempted class is the issue for consideration.
      Section 2(f) defines information as “Any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinion, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law or the time being in force”.
      Section 2(j) reads : “Right to information means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of document or records; (iii) …… (iv) …. “. In terms of Section 2(i) “Record” includes (a) any documents, manuscript and file;
      In the system of functioning of public authorities, a file is opened for every subject/matter dealt with by the public authority. While the main file would contain all the materials connected with the subject/matter, generally, each file also has what is known as note sheets, separate from but attached with the main file. Most of the discussions on the subject/matter are recorded in the note sheets and decisions are mostly based on the recording in the note sheets and even the decisions are recorded on the note sheets. These recordings are generally known as “file notings”. Therefore, no file would be complete without note sheets having “file notings”. In other words, note sheets containing “file notings” are an integral part of a file. Some times, notings are made on the main file also, which obviously would be a part of the file itself. In terms of Section 2(i), a record includes a file and in terms of Section 2(j) right to information extends to accessibility to a record. Thus, a combined reading of Sections 2(f), (i)&(j) would indicate that a citizen has the right of access to a file of which the file notings are an integral part. If the legislature had intended that “file notings” are to be exempted from disclosure, while defining a “record” or “file” it could have specifically provided so. Therefore, we are of the firm view, that, in terms of the existing provisions of the RTI Act, a citizen has the right to seek information contained in “file notings” unless the same relates to matters covered under Section 8 of the Act. Thus, the reliance of the CPIO, TCILO on the web site clarification of the Department of Personnel to deny the information on the basis that ‘file notings’ are exempted, is misplaced.
      However, it is seen from the decision of the appellate authority that he was of the view that TCIL was exempted from disclosing the information sought, under Section 8(1)(d)&(e) of RTI Act. In terms of Section 8, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen information relating to matters covered under subsections (a) to (j) of that Section. Section 8(d) exempts information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property and Sub section (e) exempts information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship. Even then, at the discretion of the competent authority even these information could be disclosed if he is of the opinion that public interest so warrants. From the decision of the appellate authority of TCIL, which is not a speaking one, it is not clear whether the file notings, a copy of which was denied to the appellant, relate to commercial confidence or trade secret or intellectual property or is available to TCIL in its fiduciary relationship.
      Direction :
      Since we have held that file notings are not, as a matter of law, exempt from disclosure, the CPIO, TCIL is directed to furnish the information contained in the file notings, on or before 15.2.2006 to the appellant. However, if the CPIO, TCIL is still of the opinion that the said file notings are exempt under Section 8(d) & (e), he is at liberty to place the file notings before the Commission on 13.2.2006 at 11 AM to determine whether the same is exempt under these sections and even if so, whether disclosure of the same would be in the public interest or not.
      Let a copy of this decision be sent to CPIO, TCIL and the appellant.


      Sd/-




      (Padma Balasubramanian)




      Information Commissioner




      Sd/-




      (Wajahat Habibullah)



      Chief Information Commissioner


Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy